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Full Version: Whole House Audio without Nuvo or Russound
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Howdy all,

I'm in the purchasing stage for getting my whole house audio solution up and running (pre wire is happening as we speak). I made the perhaps bad decision of going a non-nuvo, russound, (insert all in one solution here). I recently purchased this matrix switch for audio and video. I'm going to have a total of 6 inputs, and 5 outputs of video, so the switch is more than powerful enough on that front. For audio I am having some difficulties in figuring out how to proceed. I have a total of 9 zones. Three zones are mono, 5 are stereo, and the living room is surround. All in wall speakers.

I already have a 5.1 receiver (Marantz product) to control the living room. Ignoring amplification for a second, having one more zone of audio than my switch can control, am I already in trouble? I can very easily lose one zone of audio at this point, so its not the end of the world.

My more important question is what to do about amplification. My initial idea was to purchase 6 two channel amps. I have since abandoned this in favor of the more sensible solution of purchasing one 12 channel amp. Would one of these work? I'm concerned about the lack of a way to control it. I don't think there's any RS-232 or IR control. Do I need a pre amp to go with it? The thing I like about these is their ebay availability in the $600 range.

My budget is rapidly disappearing, and amplification may get the short end of the stick. I am open to any cost effective solution for finishing this system. I have the sources, I have the switch, and I have the speakers. I just need products to make it all work.

Thanks,

Target
Well I thought I had a solution until you said you already had the HT receiver. I was going to suggest that you purchase one that has a 2nd zone available. Most of the 7.1 receivers have this feature. You can generally pick up a used receiver on E-Bay for $300-$400. Something like the Integra 6.5 or the Denon 3803.

Other options include making one of the planned stereo zones into two mono zones. You might be surprised how little stereo sound makes when you are talking about kitchens and other rooms were the sound is going to be secondary and there is no display device.

You could also try to pick up another small matrix switch for cheap. Something like a 4x8 composite/stereo switch. In fact, I have one that I might be willing to part with. If you think you might be interested, PM me.

The cheapest and easiest solution is the second. Don't change you wiring plan or speaker layout. Then you could always go with one of the other solutions as the funds allowed and you could get another piece of equipment. The other benefit to this strategy is that you will need fewer amp channels in the beginning too.
I'm not to worried about losing a zone. My main worry at this point is amplification. I'm not quite clear on how a 7.1 receiver with a second zone will fix things.

Let us assume for the moment that I have total of 7 zones. One is covered by a receiver, and the other 6 are all 2 channel stereo. Will a two zone receiver coupled with a matrix switch be able to handle this? If so, that is fantastic. Will the Xantech product I cited to above work? The price is right, I'm just not sure how to control it.

Target
OK - I guess I misread your first thread. I thought you needed 1 more zone even with the receiver (ie 2 more zones over what the matrix switch would handle). In reality your receiver will handle the extra zone just fine.

I think that 12 channel amp should work fine. You really don't need control over the amp - although if there was a way to turn the main power on and off remotely that would be nice. I didn't see anything to indicate it does. If it doesn't, I think you should just leave it on all the time. If you can turn the main power on/off, then you can turn it off when all zones are off to save some power.

The only issue that needs to be worked out is how you are going to get the source inputs to both the matrix switcher and the HT receiver. It might be that you end up getting a bunch of "Y" connectors and splitting the source material to both devices. You could also get a more robust splitter that would prevent any signal loss to either device, but they are going to be more expensive. I'd probably just try the simple "Y" splitters and see if the quality meets your satisfaction. It probably will.
Two clarifications.

For your second point regarding getting the source to both the component switcher and the receiver, assuming I only have 7 total zones, if I have all of my sources coming into the matrix switch, can I just have the first zone output to the receiver, and zones 2-7 output to the amp?

For the first part of your post, I'm still a little confused as to controlling the amp. I don't need to control it at all? How will volume be controlled? On the same page as the amp I posted above, there is an "IR" version. What features does this add? The IR version is significantly more expensive, and if the only benefit is being able to turn it on and off I don't see the point.

How much electricity do these things take when in standby?

Lastly, the amp I posted has a total of 12 channels split into 6 stereo channels. Could I take one of the stereo channels (2 channels) and output two two different zones in mono that each have just one speaker? Could one theoretically use the matrix switch to output to 4 stereo locations and 4 mono locations?

Thanks so much for the advice. I am looking to pull the trigger on one of these tomorrow, and this information has been enormously helpful.

Target
Target Wrote:Two clarifications.

For your second point regarding getting the source to both the component switcher and the receiver, assuming I only have 7 total zones, if I have all of my sources coming into the matrix switch, can I just have the first zone output to the receiver, and zones 2-7 output to the amp?

Yes, that would work fine if you only needed 7 zones. You effectively will turn the receiver into a 5.1 amp and not use the switching capacity of the receiver. In other words, the output from the matrix switch might go into input 1 of the receiver and you will always leave the receiver on input 1.

Quote:For the first part of your post, I'm still a little confused as to controlling the amp. I don't need to control it at all? How will volume be controlled? On the same page as the amp I posted above, there is an "IR" version. What features does this add? The IR version is significantly more expensive, and if the only benefit is being able to turn it on and off I don't see the point.

Hopefully the matrix switch will allow you to control the volume. Some switches do and some don't. I honestly don't know enough about your switch to know if it does or not. Since it has the stereo outputs, I'm hoping that it will allow you to control the volume of those outputs. Now if you switch digital audio through the matrix switch on the synch output, it will not be able to control that vol. since the synch isn't designed to be controlled like that. But you'll obviously be using a HT receiver to take advantage of the digital audio anyway and you would simply use the receiver's volume control in that situation. If the matrix switch will not give you stereo volume control, then you'll need to make sure the amp does.

Quote:Lastly, the amp I posted has a total of 12 channels split into 6 stereo channels. Could I take one of the stereo channels (2 channels) and output two two different zones in mono that each have just one speaker? Could one theoretically use the matrix switch to output to 4 stereo locations and 4 mono locations?

The amp itself should be able to do this just fine. After all, it is simply taking the line level input and increasing it to a speaker level output. However, the bigger question is if the matrix switch and break the stereo input from the source and output it in mono. If you simply take a stereo input and send one channel to one room and the other channel to another room, you will get the Left sound in one and Right sound in the other. So the switch needs to be able to combine Left and Right channels and output it into a single mono channel.

If the switch does not allow for this ability, and you have extra inputs, you could always use another input. One input for the stereo zones and one input that has the stereo channels combined (using a simple "y" connector) for the mono zones.

EDIT - actually perhaps you can use the 2nd sych input and output for the mono channels. You would need to split the source stereo outputs into two outputs. One goes to the regular stereo inputs of the matrix switch. The 2nd set you would think combine into a single mono channel and input it on the 2nd sych channel of the matrix switch. I'm not 100% sure this will work, but it is certainly worth a try. [/EDIT]

Hopefully this makes since. If you have a link for the manual for the correct matrix switch model, we could take a look at that and try to find out the answers to these questions.
After much research, I think that this system won't work. The matrix is not capable of regulating the sound. Thus, with any of the amps designated here, the audio will be at 100% all of the time. I'm still fairly determined to use the Extron matrix switch. If anyone has any ideas of what I could put between that and the speakers to provide amplification and volume control I would be ecstatic.

Target
Does anyone think this; http://www.xantech.com/products/amplifie...PA1235.pdf

will work? I just think it might. It will take quite a bit of programming to get all of the IR controls down, but I think its doable! Looks like it can control each of the audio zones volume internally, and be controlled.

Target
That may be a possibility in that it does have the ability to regulate the audio level. It will involve additional programming work on your end to capture all the IR codes for adjusting volume and having CQC send them to the unit when appropriate. Too bad it doesn't have a serial interface. The problem (well, more of an issue) that you will have is that you will never know what the volume is currently at on any given zone. Just a quick glance at the IR section of the manual and it appears you can inc/dec or you can select from 12 volume presets, but you can't give it an absolute volume. While not a deal breaker, just something to be aware of. As an example, with my Nuvo, I know the current volume of each zone. So on TTS (text to speech) events, I can read what the current volume is, adjust it to what I need, announce the event, and return the volume back. It will be difficult to do that on your setup.
Well he could effectively do that with the volume presets. For text to speach announcements, he might use preset #2, etc.

Not as good as two way communication, but better than just IR with no presets.
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